Lisa is one of America’s best long distance triathletes with multiple course records, Ironman wins and titles to her name. Turning pro in 2009 after a successful track career at college, she now is a regular on podiums around the world – and helping coach the next generation of up-and-coming triathletes.
How did you start running? I started running when I was 12. I really hoped I would be a hurdler or high-jumper but then one day the girl who was meant to represent our team in the 1500m was ill. The coached asked me to step in…I thought 4 laps around the track was sooo long… but I did it and won! My distance running blossomed from there as I ran in high school then college track and field. I have been in love with running ever since!
Why do you run now? I like the simplicity of it. There are so many gadgets out there we use in daily life, nothing could be easier than throwing on a pair of shoes, getting out and away from it all. I use it to clear my mind, stimulate creativity, solve problems. Even when I travel, I find there’s no better way to discover a city than by running.
What has been the most important race you’ve run to date?
Challenge Roth. It was a big podium finish for me, running the marathon in 2:56:35 and finishing under 9 hours.
What is your pre-race ritual? I repeatedly check and doublecheck my gear to be sure I have everything I need. At this point, all the hard work is done so I’m pretty relaxed. Better to be relaxed heading in to the race than second-guessing yourself.
What do you think about while running? When I’m running long distance races all sorts of things go through my mind! I waver between actively trying to NOT think about what I’m doing, or how much longer I have and then I focus on looking at the faces of the crowd, interacting with them, then back to thinking tactics or about nutrition. That’s why for me, knowing I’m wearing the right shoe becomes one less thing I have to think about.
What song is your go to for the run? My music preference is all over the map; from Twisted Sister to Nat King Cole to Roy Orbison. It all depends on my mood!
Who is your “team”? My husband is my number 1, looking after me and my crazy training schedules and doing all the cooking. He loves to take care of my bike (which is another win for me) as he tunes it up and gets it ready to go. Aside from him, I have a great coach and other squad members on my team. Brett Sutton and Mary Beth Ellis are both great at helping me ready for competitions and pushing me on. Sometimes they also help me focus and I tend to use them as my soundboards. Finally, friends and family and really anyone who shows up to support and encourage me. It takes a village as they say…
What is your passion next to endurance sports? Landscape architecture! I did it professionally when I was starting in triathlon and it’s a big passion of mine: gardening, parks – sometimes (I have to admit) I wander off the road and run to have a good look at interesting plants or designs.
Who would you be if you weren’t a professional athlete? I would still be involved in sport or with athletes in some way. Coaching is something I have recently begun and I’m finding it really rewarding to help others achieve lofty goals and see big improvements.
You don’t win the game with one training session.
What does no one tell you about being a professional athlete? No one tells you how much more difficult it is at the top. It was my biggest shock after I turned professional. I was winning my age group competitions but when I went pro, it was a huge learning curve to grow up to be at the level of the top performers.
What was the best piece of running advice you ever received? Never look back at the competition. Whether it’s on the bike, or running - if you pass someone don't turn around to see where they are. Just keep running your race.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to follow in your footsteps? Don’t rush it. These are endurance sports. They take awhile to build the right skills, aerobic capabilities and I think young people are too keen to go long too soon. Work on your speed instead when you’re young and as you get older you can work on longer distances – it’s harder to do it the other way around.
Why On? They are simple shoes. There is a lot of technology built into them but they are still simple shoes. Being a runner for 25 years I can tell instant I put them on they have everything I need and I can trust them. Some shoes try too hard, or there’s too much built into the shoe, or they fake it and you can feel it. On lets your foot do what it needs to go fast without trying. Simple.